Interregnum of Wang Mang
XIN DYNASTY Money spade
Di Bu Ba Bai (Chinese: 第布八百; literally: "Graduate Spade, Eight Hundred")
Nice green patina
Weight: 12.3 grams; Size: 53 mm x 23 mm
Di Bu Ba Bai (Chinese: 第布八百; pinyin: dì bù bābǎi; literally: "Graduate Spade, Eight Hundred")
The Ten Spades. AD 10-14.
According to the History of Han:
The people became bewildered and confused, and these coins did not circulate. They secretly used Wu Zhu coins for their purchases. Wang Mang was very concerned at this and issued the following decree:
“Those who dare to oppose the court system and those who dare to use Wu Zhus surreptitiously to deceive the people and equally the spirits will all be exiled to the Four Frontiers and be at the mercy of devils and demons.”
The result of this was that trade and agriculture languished, and food became scarce. People went about crying in the markets and the highways, the numbers of sufferers being untold. In AD 14, all these tokens were abolished, and replaced by another type of spade coin and new round coins.
With gold now outlawed and the high value knife money demonetized, large transactions must have been difficult. To facilitate trade, a series of new denominations were added to the two already circulating. Small denominations were round coins of 1, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 Wu Shu. Large denominations were in the form of spade money from 100 to 1000 Wu Shu by intervals of 100. This brought the total number of denominations in use to sixteen:
With the exception of the two types from the previous reform, and the value 1000 spades, all of the coins of this reform are rare, suggesting this was a very short-lived series, probably only for part of AD 10. There are several types for which we have never seen a genuine example, and cannot give any valuations. Fakes exist of all the rare types, so we recommend examining any specimens very closely.
The spade types are all found with and without a line extending from the hole to the upper rim, although the meaning of this line is uncertain. It may indicate two mints were operating, or that there were two different issues of these coins. These are poorly cast coin and usually seen with rather rough surfaces.